A fixture in Los Angeles in the 1990s up to the present time, Dale Fielder deserves to be much better known. He has developed personal voices on alto, tenor, and soprano, is an excellent post-bop improviser who has ties to the tradition (John Coltrane is his main inspiration, even though his tone is different), and is constantly hustling for new jobs and recordings. Usually, Fielder records with his own group, but for The Hustler, he was called in at the last minute when the scheduled leader was unable to make it. The saxophonist was familiar with the playing of percussionist Robert White Jr. (his nephew) and drummer Thomas White, and has no difficulty interacting with the promising young pianist Danny Grissett (who shows a McCoy Tyner influence at times) and bassist Trevor Ware. Fielder brought in nine originals for the date, which the quintet performs along with Harold Mabern's "I Remember Britt." Eight of the final performances ended up being first takes. Whether it is the playful "I Remember Britt," "Troubadour Dreams" (which is in 5/4), "The Old Country" (no relation to Nat Adderley's song of the same name), or the heated "Tamara's Tempo," Dale Fielder (who plays more soprano than usual) is heard throughout in top form. Chances are that none of the originals will become standards in the future, but the solos of Fielder and Grissett are consistently impressive, making this an easily recommended disc.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow